If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. – John 8:7 Jesus had again gone to the temple to teach. The people were gathered around him to hear him when the Pharisees brought a woman before him that they had caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” The Pharisees were hoping Jesus would answer the question so they would have something with which to accuse him. Perhaps they thought he would just tell them to let her go, or at least give her a lesser sentence, after all stoning is rather harsh. But Jesus didn’t even answer their question. Jesus knew their heart and he knew that their righteousness was only a front and that they were indeed sinners just like the others who had gathered that day. Instead of answering them he just bent down and wrote something on the ground. No one knows what he wrote but some speculate that he simply began to list the sins that those accusers were themselves guilty of. His only answer was, “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Somewhere between what Jesus said and what he wrote on the ground he got through to these men who were quick to accuse this helpless woman and one by one they began to walk away. There are two things that stick out to me in this story. One is the question of where was the man who was participating in the adultery. The other is that Jesus never condoned the woman’s sin, he simply forgave her and told her to quit sinning. There is a very important lesson on grace and mercy here. Before we ever feel that it is our place to become judge and jury of others we must be sure that we ourselves are not lawbreakers. If Jesus doesn’t condemn repentant sinners, then neither should we. Prayer: Lord, I am grateful you didn’t judge me but took upon yourself my judgment that I might live. Amen. Principle: Before we ever feel that it is our place to become judge and jury of others we must be sure that we ourselves are not lawbreakers. If Jesus doesn’t condemn repentant sinners, then neither should we. Affirmation: I am learning to judge myself before I ever think about judging others. I am not without sin so I don’t carry stones. Reflection: What do you think Jesus wrote in the sand? He could have asked, “Where is the man?” Or he might have just been listing sins he knew the others were guilty of. What do you think? Then give some thought to how you feel about others who are doing some of the same things you do.